Giant Oceanic Manta Ray and Mermaid

The Giant Oceanic Manta Ray (Manta birostris) is the largest ray species in the world, with a wingspan of over 20 feet. These gentle giants feed on zooplankton (shrimp, krill, and planktonic crabs) and are distinguished from other manta ray species with markings on their backs that produce a large capital letter "T". Giant mantas produce one (and occasionally two) offspring per birth cycle (up to 13 months), and their population has drastically declined over the last twenty years due to overfishing. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Giant Oceanic Manta Ray and Mermaid

 

Giant Oceanic Manta Ray and Mermaid

 

Giant Oceanic Manta Ray and Mermaid

 

Giant Oceanic Manta Ray and Mermaid

 

Giant Oceanic Manta Ray and Mermaid

Wet clay model

 

Giant Oceanic Manta Ray and Mermaid

Wet clay model

 

Giant Oceanic Manta Ray and Mermaid

Wet clay model

 

Giant Oceanic Manta Ray and Mermaid

Concept sketch - done on iPad Pro with Apple Pencil

 Swan Lake Suiban

In Ikebana, the traditional Japanese art of flower arranging, the Moribana style uses a flat tray called "suiban" with water. I actually tried to sculpt individual cherry blossom petals, but after a few stubborn attempts, realized that I was not yet skilled enough to pull this off. I think that a few sakura flowers if arranged just right could be positioned with the tree limbs to resemble a miniature tree - a kind of bonsai effect. The lone mute swan further reinforces the scale and serenity of the traditional Moribana display. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Swan Lake Suiban

 

Swan Lake Suiban

 

Swan Lake Suiban

 

Swan Lake Suiban

 Wet clay model

 

Swan Lake Suiban

Concept Sketch 

 Giant Clam and Mermaid

The Giant Clam (Tridacna gigas) is the largest living mollusk, averaging about 4 feet across and weighing over 400 pounds. With a lifespan of over 100 years, these massive bivalves have been on earth since the early Miocene era (about 20 million years ago). Due to extensive fishing (for food and the aquarium trade), their status is currently listed as "Vulnerable."  Ancient mariners have told legends about them being man-eaters (almost certainly false), so I took some artistic license juxtaposing the shell of one exceptionally gigantic specimen and another maritime legend, the mermaid. Incidentally, one of the largest pearls ever found weighed over 75 pounds and was produced by the giant clam. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Giant Clam and Mermaid

 

Giant Clam and Mermaid

 

 

Giant Clam and Mermaid

 

Giant Clam and Mermaid

 

Giant Clam and Mermaid

 

Giant Clam and Mermaid

 

Giant Clam and Mermaid

Wet clay model

 Medusa

 

In Greek mythology Medusa was originally a beautiful maiden who was later turned into a gorgon, a winged creature with snakes prominently in place of hair, whose face turned onlookers to stone. She was slain by the hero Perseus who gave her head to Athena to adorn her shield. Coincidentally, it is said that Pegasus sprang from Medusa's body upon her death, and that Atlas was transformed into the Atlas Mountains when he tried to attack Perseus as he flew by with her severed head. The ancient Greeks used the Medusa image as a form of protection against bad spirits and the evil eye. Medusa was represented in ancient art as either hideous (with bulging eyes, boar tusks, and beard) or as a beautiful woman after the 5th century BC, often with tiny wings on her forehead. I like to think that Medusa, being the only mortal gorgon, was still beautiful while her other gordon sisters were not. This piece consumed a lot of time (and clay) to sculpt (there are 46 visible snake heads). Unfortunately I didn't hollow out the head sufficiently, and a vertical crack formed down her left eye. Repairing this was the main reason I chose to paint the entire piece, and based on the results there may be a Medusa 2.0 at some point in the future. A slab of petrified wood fittingly serves as the base. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Medusa

 

Medusa

 

 

Medusa

Medusa Wet Clay Model

MedusaMedusa Concept Sketch - iPad Pro with Apple Pencil

Rhinoceros

 

The rhinoceros is one of the largest land animals, weighing above 4,000 lbs (Indian rhinos can weigh up to 7,500 lbs). They compensate for their poor eyesight with better hearing and smell, and can live between 35 to 40 years. Their physical appearance (or that of their ancestors) may have contributed to the myth of the unicorns. Rhinos are highly endangered due to poaching for their horns which are actually thickly matted hair comprised of keratin. Since the 1970's their population has diminished by 90% worldwide. My inspiration to sculpt this magnificent beast in the rain came from a dream I had one night. Thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Rhinoceros in the Rain

 

Rhinoceros in the Rain

 

Rhinoceros in the Rain

 

Rhinoceros in the Rain

 

Rhinoceros in the Rain

Wet clay model

 

Concept sketch - done on iPad Pro with Apple Pencil